Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pow wow at Iron Lightening

Went to a pow wow for the Fourth. It wasn't one of the large touristy type pow wows --it was part family reunion, part church, part ol' time country fair. It was wonderful.

It wasn't the touristy pow wow because it was waaaaaayyyy down a dirt road. There were no signs --only word of mouth and invitation. The competitive dancing --well, every kid that got up and danced got a dollar or something. There were four drums --they took turns playing for the dancers and crowds.

The day began with church in the middle of the arbor --about 100 folks. No prayer books --so there was a lot I had to wing, if you know what I mean. Then, a walk for those suffering from diabetes --a mile and some straight up this huge hill and down the other side. I was amazed at those who walked. What a prayer.

Then there were the baseball and volleyball tournaments. A pony ride competition for the kids --which was pretty funny. I think the ponies all suffer from a Napoleon complex or something --they were just plain mean to those kids --ran off the track towards the creek or ran around in circles... I don't think one kid actually made it to the finish line....

Pony ride competition, Iron Lightening, SD

And then there was the dancing --it started simply enough with All Nations dancing --which means that everyone is welcome to enter the arbor and dance. Men danced counter clock-wise together, women clock-wise, together. Passing like ships.... And, the 'dance' is simple --one walks with "grace-note" type steps on the down beat, and actual foot placement on the off-beat. It's more difficult than not. It was fun to watch the YouthWorks folks dancing --and some from the Y there too.

Then some competitive dancing --I didn't have permission from the ladies to take their pictures --but these two young brothers gave their all to the dance:

Lining up for the Grand Entry --the children led the way... mostly because the adults who were going to dance had not yet put on their regalia

Boys first, girls behind

this young man danced traditional dances only

And he was quite good.

I didn't have permission to take pictures of the adults.... there were only a few adult dancers. But they were quite good too. I wanted more. The real differences in the regalia between child and adult were not in form but in substance. The children wear the head dresses and all --but they are not true eagle feathers and they are all worked on to painted canvas or fabric. The adults dance in beaded buck or doe skins and other hides with real ornament.

And then there was the social dancing --the "rabbit dance" which is a dance for young folk in love --but mothers were out with daughters, and teen girls danced it together too --as did the young folk in love. It was wonderful to see.

And then there was the potato dance... the couple must press and hold a potato on their foreheads --and then dance. It's pretty funny. It took a while --what with potatoes slipping conveniently in to eye sockets and what not --but eventually, there was only one couple left dancing --young and beautiful, which brought applause from all.

Deacon and I left after the "suicide" horse race --where the young men demonstrate their prowess on the back of a horse with a ride that takes them up and down cliffs... Some fell off... some horses collided... an ambulance had to be called.... Fortunately, there were medics on site.

We left before the sun went down --and I am very confident the dancing went on until way after dark...

--the best Fourth ever.

Oh, and you know those flags the military present to the family at the death of a veteran... well, here, the flags are not put in boxes and displayed on a wall... here, the flags, adorned with the name of the one who served, are brought out, unfurled, and ceremonially raised and they fly over the people all day --and ceremonially brought down and returned to the families before the sun goes down. I can't help but imagine the meaning of the flag is quite changed --and the meaning of its flying quite changed from what it means off-reservation. The national anthem is not sung --but honoring songs of fallen warriors instead.... Quite. Changed. Seven flags flew over us --watched over us --the wind catching and moving the very flag which had at some time adorned their coffins....

Some of the flags had only 48 stars.

Quite. Changed.

At prayer this morning (From Romans 8, ending with verse 11)
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
I see the Spirit at work all around me.

And it is wonderful to behold. Amen.


kishnevi said...

That pony competition.....running around in circles...going off track...sounds to me like the People have found a good way to give their kids an idea of what life as an adult consists of XD

susan s. said...

Oh, the flags made me cry. Yes, quite changed. Thanks, Margaret.

David said...

what a wonderful gift of sharing you've made us, dearest ((((margaret)))))


JCF said...

Your pow-wow experience brings to mind mine. Some things that I still can't quite talk about.

Thank you, Margaret.

it's margaret said...

thank you all for your comments --I am in the midst of two difficult funerals. sorry not to respond to each all individually. I am so very grateful you commented.


motheramelia said...

Thank you so much for this post Margaret. It is a reminder of what is real and true in life.